Insurance in Canada

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Offering a broad platform that features corporate transactional, regulatory and insurance litigation strength, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP acts for top-flight insurers and reinsurers. On the transactional side, it advises on restructuring, M&A and capital markets matters for its clients, most notably acting for Intact Financial Corporation on its acquisition of RSA Insurance Group. Its regulatory arm, led by Toronto-based team head Paul Belanger, advises Canadian and international insurance companies on both federal and provincial regulatory requirements, across its four office areas. As for litigation, the team handles all forms of coverage and recovery claims, representing both insurers and insureds in front of all court and tribunal levels. Heading up the litigation group out of Calgary is David Tupper, whose practice centres around property and reinsurance cases involving high magnitude losses. Other key names in Toronto include transactional expert Jake Gilbert and Bonny Murray, who offers regulatory support with a particular focus on longevity insurance.

Practice head(s):

Paul Belanger; David Tupper

Other key lawyers:

Jake Gilbert; Bonny Murray; Matthew Liben

Key clients

Blue Cross Life Insurance Company of Canada

Canada Life Assurance Company

Hub International Inc.

Industrial Alliance Financial Services Inc.

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Intact Financial Corporation

QBE Insurance

Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada

Sagen MI

Standard Life plc

Tundra Oil and Gas Limited

Zurich Insurance Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Intact Financial Corporation in connection with its proposed C$12.3bn acquisition, together with Tryg A/S, of RSA Insurance Group Plc
  • Advised Sagen MI Canada Inc. on its C$1.6bn acquisition by Brookfield Business Partners L.P
  • Acted for a consortium of international insurers in a coverage claim that was made for C$500m relating to refurbishment failures to the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Statio

Fasken

Fasken counts among its clients some of the most important global insurers and reinsurers, including Travelers, Swiss Re, Intact and Allianz. Known for its regulatory work, the team has expertise working with federal and provincial regulators, with work examples including securities issuances, novel joint ventures, and corporate reorganizations. In particular, the team has growing experience acting on behalf of insurtech companies and those with unique distribution methods. The practice also serves as a key advisor to firms hoping to enter the Canadian market, both new companies and foreign insurers. Its transactional arm is equally strong, advising on a number of key M&A matters in the industry. Koker Christensen chairs the team’s financial services group and heads the insurance team. He advises on key transactional matters, with added regulatory expertise. Kathleen Butterfield and associate Craig Bellefontaine focus on regulatory matters. All listed lawyers are based in Toronto.

Other key lawyers:

Kathleen Butterfield; Craig Bellefontaine

Key clients

Foresters

CCR Re

Work highlights

  • Acted for Foresters in the issuance of subordinated debt, the first-ever issuance of securities by this company
  • Provided insurance regulatory advice on the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquisition of Towerhill Insurance Brokers Inc.
  • Provided regulatory advice during the agreement negotiations between Economical Insurance and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions to provide access to Swiss Re’s International Program Administration platform.

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Operating a combined transactional, regulatory and contentious practice, Stikeman Elliott LLP is a go-to firm for major insurers, reinsurers and related insurance companies. On the transactional side, Toronto-based lead partner Stuart Carruthers served as counsel to RSA Insurance on its c$12.3bn acquisition by Intact Financial Group. The team also has expertise in public and other securities offerings, as well as a strong federal and provincial regulatory practice. On the contentious side, the group is experienced in handling D&O liability claims, catastrophic loss disputes and class actions. Recent work includes Montreal-based Éric Azran representing Aviva Canada in a class action relating to school supplies against various school boards and a group of insurers in Covid-19-related business interruption matters. Other key names include Toronto-based Meaghan Obee Tower, who focuses on transactional regulatory advice, and Montreal-based Laurent Fortier, who is known for his work with international insurers, in particular Lloyds.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Carruthers

Other key lawyers:

Meaghan Obee Tower; Laurent Fortier; Éric Azran

Key clients

QBE Insurance (Europe) Limited

Chubb European Group Limited

AXA XL

Lloyd’s Canada and Lloyd’s Underwriters

Zurich Canada

Allianz Global Assistance

AEGIS Syndicate

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Work highlights

  • Acting as Canadian counsel to RSA Insurance Group PLC on its C$12.3bn acquisition by Intact Financial Corporation and Tryg A/S.
  • Acted as counsel to One80 Intermediaries Inc., a subsidiary of RSC Insurance Brokerage Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Strategic Underwriting Managers, Inc.
  • Acted for People Corporation in connection with its acquisition of the Apri Group of Companies and its acquisition of Alliance Pour La Santé Etudiante Au Quebec Inc.

Torys

Advising on a number of high-value transactional matters, the team at Torys counts among its clients key domestic and international insurers, insurtechs, and reinsurers. Recent highlights include co-head Blair Keefe advising intact on its C$12.3bn acquisition of RSA Insurance Group, and fellow co-head Jill McCutcheon assisting with Cigna’s $6.3bn sale of its life, accident and disability lines to New York Life. On the regulatory side, the team has a growing practice advising large-scale insurance groups on new lines of business and insurtech integration. The practice also acts in contentious cases, from contract interpretation and statutory concerns to matters heard before the Supreme Court of Canada. Other key names include Kelly Morris, who advises on insurance regulatory law with an emphasis on privacy and security, and associate Melissa Prado, who has a transactional focus. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Practice head(s):

Blair Keefe; Jill McCutcheon

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Morris; Melissa Prado

Testimonials

‘We work with the team on a number of insurance claims and we have always found them to be very responsive to our needs and provide excellent professional advice.’

‘I work with Jill McCutcheon and Melissa Prado. Their technical abilities are second to none, and they will be available most times that I need them to provide services. Their advice is always of high quality.’

‘Highly specialised team. Provide timely opinions, have a keen understanding of insurance industry and players. Outstanding level of service.’

‘Interactions are easy and efficient; capacity to clarify complex matters; clear understanding of client’s context, needs and objectives.’

‘There is a depth of experience on the team. Jill has the regulatory relationships and the experience, while Kelly and Melissa effectively leverage her experience to be able to effectively divide and tackle assignments. They all collaborate well and together and as a result, they are stronger than each one individually.’

‘Jill has deep operational experience as well as depth of regulatory relationships. Melissa has a great way of dealing with people and easily develops interpersonal relationships.’

‘The team has a strong relationship with the relevant regulators and is frequently called on by numerous clients to advise on how best to approach the regulations, which give confidence to us, as a client, that their advice is reliable.’

‘Broad access to subject matter experts across disciplines and regions throughout Canada. Expertise is best in class. Exceptional speed of service and responsiveness. Take a practical, business-oriented and hence strategic approach to many matters. Highly collaborative and team-oriented.’

Key clients

CIGNA Life Insurance Company of Canada

Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association

Manulife Financial Corporation

Gore Mutual Insurance Company

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

Great-West Lifeco Inc.

HKMB HUB International Limited

Intact Financial Corporation

Gerber Life Insurance Company (Canada Branch)

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada

Sun Life Financial Inc.

The Canada Life Assurance Company

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Work highlights

  • Advised Intact Financial, as insurance regulatory counsel, on its £7.2 billion acquisition, alongside Tryg A/S, of RSA Insurance Group Plc.
  • Advised CIGNA, as Canadian regulatory counsel, on the $6.3bn sale of its group life, accident and disability insurance business to New York Life.
  • Advising Gore Mutual Insurance Company on multiple matters related to its digital transformation.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Known for its high-quality litigation bench, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP acts for insurers and insureds on a number of key disputes. The team is involved in a number of cases relating to business interruption as a result of Covid-19, with Patrick Heisen representing Lloyds Underwriters, HDI Global Specialty SE and Grenville mutual in separate class actions. It often acts on behalf of large insurers’ national programs but is also known to act for large entities including municipalities, hospitals and school boards. The firm also offers regulatory services. The team is headed by Rebecca Bush and Donna Spagnolo in Toronto and Graham Walker in Vancouver. Other key names include regional group manager Kevin McGivney in Toronto and Jean-Maire Fontaine in Montreal. Cyber insurance expert Eric Charleston joined from Miller Thomson.

Other key lawyers:

Kevin McGivney; Patrick Heisen; Jean-Maire Fontaine; Eric Charleston

Work highlights

  • Defending a proposed class proceeding against HDI Global Speciality SE and Grenville Mutual Insurance Company including a potential Covid-19 business interruption class action.
  • Assisted the Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company with its acquisition of Gerber Life Insurance Company’s Canadian insurance business.
  • Assisted Sterling Capital Brokers with its merger with Luedey Consultants Inc..

McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tétrault‘s insurance team has ‘wide-ranging legal and regulatory expertise’ within the insurance industry, offering services to a broad range of clients. It is best known for helping clients navigate Canada’s complex regulatory space, providing general advice across the country’s major provinces. The team has strong experience in assisting with broad corporate law needs, including transactional and capital markets work, as well as a disputes offering. The practice is led by Nancy Carroll, who is known for ‘her deep knowledge and practical advice’ with particular emphasis on insurtech and demutualisation. Other key names include Hartley Lefton, who joined from Dentons and litigator Hovsep Afarian. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Carroll; William Scott

Other key lawyers:

Hartley Lefton; Sonia Struthers; Hovsep Afarian

Testimonials

‘McCarthy’s has wide-ranging legal and regulatory expertise that we were looking for and need.’

Nancy Carroll is an expert in this field. Her deep knowledge and practical advice is valued. Ana Badour also has deep knowledge and experience in her areas of expertise and her guidance is well thought through, responsive and practical.’

‘Strong knowledge of insurance law, cooperative and creative attitude; depth of bench; focus on policyholder-side engagements. I am not aware of a major law firm in Canada with similar experience.’

‘Hovsep Afarian has a superb technical knowledge of insurance issues, and case law is at his fingertips. He is a great resource and works well with co-counsel.’

‘Nancy Carrol, the partner and head of national insurance and reinsurance, has extensive experience and a deep understanding of the insurance sector. She leads the team to deliver work and advice efficiently and in good quality.’

‘The team is highly responsive, thorough and knowledgeable, offering a considered approach to insurance issues.’

‘Deep knowledge of the Canadian financial services industry. Strong relationships with key regulators. As good as any firm in this area, and better than most.’

Hovsep Afarian and William Scott are methodical in their approach, chasing down answers and devoting attention to getting the best result.

Key clients

Sun Life Financial Inc.

Manulife Financial Corporation

Desjardins Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank

E-L Financial Services

Empire Life Insurance Company

Pacific Life Re Limited

iA Financial Corporation

SSQ Financial Group

Aon plc

RBC Life Insurance Company

Quinlan Brothers Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Novacap, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, on its acquisition of a majority interest in Optiom Inc.
  • Acted for The Toronto-Dominion Bank in a coverage dispute against a host of insurers arising from a C$1.6bn Ponzi Scheme in Florida.
  • Represented Quinlan Brothers Limited in its claim against eight insurers arising from a devastating fire which completely destroyed a fish plant.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has a strong global focus on the insurance sector and its Canadian branch is known for its strength in dispute resolution. It has a strong defense offering and is active in claims relating to liability, property and casualty, infrastructure and construction lines, with experience acting not only in litigation matters but in alternative dispute resolution methods including arbitration and mediation. The team’s client base includes not only key domestic insurers but large-scale international insurers as well. Key contacts include John Nicholl, who splits his practice between Toronto and Montreal, and practice leaders Robert Emblem and Carolena Gordon, both of whom are based in Montreal.

Practice head(s):

Robert Emblem; Carolena Gordon

Other key lawyers:

John Nicholl

Testimonials

‘They offer an understanding of the unique features of clients’ working environment, as well as knowledge of the key commercial drivers, which is essential.’

‘I appreciate their attentiveness to their clients’ needs.’

 

Gowling WLG

Known for its regulatory expertise, Gowling WLG advises on the full range of Canadian federal and provincial insurance laws, which includes advising on market entrances, reorganisation and a number of transactional matters. The team also has a growing footprint handling matters relating to technology, advising on the establishment of lines relating to privacy and cybersecurity, as well as a group assisting insurtech companies. The team also provides contentious support on large-scale disputes. Filomena Frisina and Belinda Bain co-head the team from Toronto. Frisia leads the insurtech and regulatory arm, while Bain focuses on advocacy. Michael Garellek is also known for his Quebecois regulatory knowledge.

Practice head(s):

Belinda Bain; Filomena Frisina

Other key lawyers:

Paul Stein QC; Parna Sabet-Stephenson; Michael Garellek

Testimonials

‘They are diverse in different areas including speciality risks (ie: E&O) and it’s a one-stop-shop! ’

‘Paul Stein is the best. He has his own caseload while mentoring juniors/associates. His mentorship results in excellent partners throughout the years. ’

‘Gowling’s team in Montreal has industry-leading knowledge in the Quebec insurance sector. This is an area where there is not a lot of legitimate expertise at large national/international firms in Canada. Gowling brings this expertise to the table every time and provides thorough and practical advice in all instances.’

‘Michael Garellek is a top lawyer. We work closely with him on many issues. He gives thorough and detailed advice. And the advice is always practical. Unlike some competitors, Gowling is always comfortable giving tough messages and practical recommendations for courses of action.’

Key clients

Ministère des Transports du Québec and Société québécoise des infrastructures

Siemens Canada

Keyera Corporation

Work highlights

  • Defending Siemens Canada in a claim against it and others by Canfor Pulp LLP for damages arising from a fire at the Canfor pulp and paper mill.
  • Defending Keyera Corporation regarding a claim against it arising from the incursion of sour gas into the Alliance Pipeline from the Keyera gas plant.

Lenczner Slaght

Litigation boutique Lenczner Slaght handles the full range of insurance disputes, covering a number of policy, coverage and defense matters. The team is also active in reinsurance disputes, providing policy interpretations, and defending against bad faith and punitive damage issues. Glenn Smith, who has a diverse commercial insurance litigation practice, with an emphasis on product liability, and Nina Bombier, who frequently litigates large environmental claims, co-lead the team. Named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Smith; Nina Bombier

Key clients

Insurance Bureau of Canada

EllisDon Group of Companies

AIG Insurance Company of Canada

ACE INA Insurance Company of Canada

CannTrust Holdings Inc.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet

NORR Architects, Ingenium Group Inc.

Work highlights

  • Served as counsel for the intervenor Insurance Bureau of Canada in an appeal concerning an award of lost profits arising from the shutdown of a nuclear reactor.
  • Served as counsel to AIG in a duty to defend and coverage application related to opiate class proceedings.
  • Serving as coverage counsel for The Royal Winnipeg Ballet in a major sexual harassment-related class action.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Fully integrated into the wider firm, Norton Rose Fulbright‘s Canada practice offers both contentious and non-contentious support to its clients. It is on a number of key insurer panels, including AIG, Chubb and QBE, with an emphasis on professional, D&O and general liability cases. The team also has a growing transactional and regulatory practice. Aldo Argento leads the team from Calgary, offering construction expertise. Other key names include Montreal-based Hélène Lefebvre and Paul Prosterman, with respective experience in professional liability disputes and class actions, and professional liability expert Lara Mason. André Legrand is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Aldo Argento

Other key lawyers:

Hélène Lefebvre; Paul Prosterman; André Legrand; Lara Mason

Testimonials

‘Strength, depth and heavyweight letterhead’

‘Paul Prosterman is our “go to”.’

‘They have knowledge in all areas and very comprehensive resources. Very good knowledge of cyber attacks.’

‘Smart, professional, practical solutions and fast turnaround.’

‘Department head lawyers take a personal involvement in issues.’

Key clients

Chubb Insurance Company of Canada

CPA Professional Liability Plan Inc.

QBE Services Inc.

La Mutuelle des Municipalités du Québec

AXA XL

Intact Insurance

Everest Insurance Company of Canada

Travelers Insurance Company

Beazley Canada

Liberty Mutual Canada

Aviva Canada

Brit Global Speciality

Work highlights

  • Represents Chubb Insurance Company of Canada in class actions against multiple insurers alleging that they have improperly denied claims for business interruption coverage for losses from government-imposed closures due to Covid-19
  • Defending QBE Services, which is facing claims of defects in the HVAC system and other components of Bow Building in Calgary.
  • Acting as coverage counsel to Zurich Insurance Company Ltd. in connection with the various class actions related to the marketing and sale of opioid drugs in Canada.